Old Mini Monday 10 – The Troll

Old Mini Monday 10 – The Troll


While visiting my brother, he rounded up all his old painted minis and let me borrow the box of them to share on the blog.








Ral Partha, 1987? Troll 11-408. Sculptor: Tom Meier.



This is a Ral Partha Troll from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line of miniatures. It’s one of my favorites as it very close to the old illustrations from the first AD&D Monster Manual.

Illustration from AD&D 1st Edition Monster Manual


1st Edition Monster Manual cover


Zoom in, Enhance, Enhance!

To me that is the epitome of the Troll monster in D&D. A bit larger than human-sized, but gaunt, nearly Undead looking. Actually, I hadn’t noticed, but if you colored it something other than bright green, it could be a Ghoul too. Well, minus the big pointy nose. Anyways, it’s what always comes to mind when someone says “D&D” and “Troll”. We knew to fear them, as they could regenerate any part of their body, and could never be killed, save for fire. Other kids told horror stories of a Troll hand coming after them, long after they had thought they had killed the Troll. You better make sure you got every last bit of them!


Tangent – Inspiration

As I mentioned long ago, this single mini (The Troll) had a major impact on my painting: https://doubledowndice.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/tool-tips-09-paints/

It’s also what started this series of Old Mini Monday articles, as I had asked my brother if he happened to have that old Troll mini. I wanted to post it in the above blog post. Instead he gave me a box of minis, but couldn’t find the troll. A couple weeks later, he did find the Troll and a couple of other minis, much to my delight.

As I mentioned in the Tool Tips Paints blog post, my brother had brought home this mini after attending a local (small potatoes) RPG/Games convention. They had a painting workshop and they showed them how to use acrylic paints. At that point in time, I was using Testor enamel paints and brushes quite poorly. I didn’t know what a shade, highlight, etc. was. It was all about dumping as much glossy single color on a mini as possible.

So yea, it might not look like much to some folks, and has had a fair amount of wear over the years, but that mini rocked my world back then. The seemingly random patches of shading and highlighting, was much different than what I used to. It was like looking at an abstract painting after I had been working on color by numbers. Also, just the matte finish of the acrylic paints was new to me, and kind of ugly. I’ve had similar experiences where I listen to a song the first time and don’t like it, but then it becomes my favorite song after another listen. I guess my brain just doesn’t accept something too new and different at first.

The techniques he had picked up at the convention and the paint medium, made me quit enamels and head down the path of acrylic painting. Eventually I would learn other techniques and how to make it all work for me, but that’s probably the subject of another Tangent sometime soon.

Was there a key point in your miniature painting that you saw something that totally changed your point of view or the way you paint?

18 thoughts on “Old Mini Monday 10 – The Troll

  1. It today’s world you could probably get away with passing this little chap off as Dobby the house elf in Harry Potter.

    As to your end question. My turning point was Military Modelling magazine and the series they ran on oil painting for beginners. This was way before the days of YouTube and the such like and finally gave me a good start on how to paint. I’d still be struggling if it wasn’t for that article!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In a way, I’m lucky that it was something in-person. I learn best by watching/doing, so articles don’t always have as much impact on me. Not to say, that some things haven’t.


  2. I think my epiphany was realising that I couldn’t paint eyes on 20mm figures anymore without wearing reading glasses with lenses as thick as a the bottom of a milk bottle! So I just don’t bother any more and, better than that I don’t care! Funnily enough, someone wrote a book on painting small scale armoured vehicles and he doesn’t paint the eyes on crewmen because you just don’t notice them!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yea, on stuff that tiny, just shading in the sockets seems more than enough. I was tempted to let the eyes go, on the 28mm team I did recently. Their eyes were so small, it was like barely a touch of paint for the pupils. 20mm….*shivers*

      Reading glasses are the best tool out there! My eyes don’t see that fine of detail, so I’m really glad to have them. I think I have a 1.5x and when I’m doing eyes or something equally small, 3x.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. That’s totally my classic image of a Troll as well. Man, we had some bad times against those things. The pose feels like it’s reminding me of some old cartoon character’s walk cycle, but I can’t think of who.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a specific single experience that changed how I paint. It’s very much been a gradual evolution.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have you taken long breaks from paining? I guess that’s probably where I might have been a bit different from some.
      There were years that I never even picked up a brush. Maybe even a good decade at one point.


      1. I don’t think I’ve ever had a gap longer than about 4 months or so. Some periods where I did very little, but I’ve almost never stopped completely.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. When I first saw the model I was like what the shit is that?? Then I looked at him some more and I like him. I could see him being transformed into something even uglier and Nurglier! Coincidentally I’ve been eyeing off a new version of the same model on eBay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like them. I think I picked up a few of the Ral Partha AD&D minis a few months back. Someday I’ll get around to painting them, once I have a decent amount of minis for Blood Bowl and Necromunda.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember this troll! You should search for him on eBay etc and see if you can get one to paint now…would be fun for you.

    As for your painting question, it’s a constant evolution for me.

    Glad to see old stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mark! I think I have a Ral Partha Mind Flayer, Troll, and Beholder. Those will all be quite fun to paint someday. Stay tuned for the next OMM, as there is one mini in there I’d definitely like to pick up the set someday. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow. That’s one ugly-freaky looking monster. Doesn’t say troll to me, but then my own classic troll image is the cover model from Tunnels and Trolls 2nd edition – so it took me some time to adapt to accepting the look of Warhammer’s trolls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, it’s a D&D Troll, which is pretty far removed from my vision of trolls in folklore and myth. I think Tunnels & Trolls was much close to folklore.


        1. Early D&D art was mainly amateur artists, some fresh out of school. Not certain, but I would i hazard at least one of them was a friend of the designers who had no formal training. Still, their illustrations have a nostalgic charm for me that can’t be replaced by the likes of digitally painted images they use today. The first and second wave of early artists were pretty quickly replaced and soon you had the likes of Jeff Easley and Larry Elmore. The more I think about, the more interesting this would be as it’s own blog post someday.


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